ROU MAAS  PALENG JOL (Labeo Rohita aka Rohu- a fresh water fish from Carp family, spinach based curry)

Fish and Rice is a staple food of Assamese people. Use of fresh herbs and vegetables with fish and meat is very significant in Assamese cuisine. Since childhood I’ve seen Deuta(my father) and Ata / Koka(grandfather) bringing fresh catch of the day from the local fish market on the bank of river Brahmaputra along with fresh vegetables from the farmers market, that makes up the day’s menu.  Fruits, vegetables, fish and meat were bought fresh on a daily basis. Maa, being an excellent and an enthusiastic cook, not only cooked delicious traditional dishes, but also varieties of dishes from different cuisine. Amongst all, this particular traditional fish curry made with spinach is one of my favorite, because of its light and fresh flavors. Some “Rou Mas Paleng Jol” on a bed of piping hot steamed white rice, cooked by Maa …… yummmm! What more could you ask for.


Preparation time 15 min                  Cook Time: 30 mins           Total Time: 45 mins


  • Rohu fish 1kilo, cleaned and sliced (6 big pieces approx.)
  • Spinach 2 bunch cleaned and blanched
  • Cumin seeds or Panch Phoren (a mix of fennel seed, fenugreek seed, cumin seed, aniseed, nigella seeds) for tempering
  • Cumin powder 1 tea spoon     
  • Garam masala 1 tea spoon
  • Coriander powder 1 tea spoon
  • Turmeric powder ½ + ½ tea spoon
  • Water 1 ½ cup
  • Oil 3 table spoon
  • Salt as per taste
  • Chopped coriander and fine ginger juliennes


  • Marinade the fish slices with some turmeric powder, salt and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok and fry the fish for a min on each side on medium to high heat. Fry all the fish and keep them aside.
  • Grind onion, ginger, garlic and 1 chilli to a fine paste.
  • Splutter some cumin seeds or panch phoren  in the same wok with hot oil. Add this paste into the wok and fry for a couple of mins on low to medium heat. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and continue frying for 3-4 min until the masala is well cooked by adding little water so that the masala doesn’t stick the wok.
  • Now add the spinach puree, remaining water, salt and stir it until the curry starts simmering, then add the fishes into the curry and cover with a lid and let it cook for about 3 to 4 mins.
  • Finally add the garam masala powder and bring it to a final boil
  • Garnish with some chopped coriander and ginger Julien. Serve hot with steam white rice.


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